A totally random, whatever came to mind first, selection of the latest additions to our
New Music Monster
Music Reviews written by Tobi Davis
Artist: Brass Against ft. Maya Azucena
Track: “War Pigs”
Political activists and awesome noisemakers, Brass Against, featuring stand out vocal talent Maya Azucena, bring funk, soul and attitude to Black Sabbath’s legendary 1970 release ‘War Pigs’. Led by musician Brad Hammond, Brass Against first delivered their unique brand of ideologically charged rock ‘n’ brass, with their cacophonous take on ‘namesake’, Rage Against the Machine’s 1981, ‘Bombtrack’. Swaggering musical statements followed quickly with a steady stream of accomplished renditions, including their audacious take on Rage’s iconic anthem for the downtrodden, disenfranchised and marginalised, ‘Killing in the Name’. Having taken on and equalled, if not surpassed, a string of iconic hard hitting protest tracks, and clearly not ones to shy away from a challenge, Brass Against turn their blistering, glorious and raucous attentions to Sabbath’s infamous, genre defining, ‘War Pigs’ (taken from their seminal album ‘Paranoid’). Brass swells and slurs, in a great expanding waves of metal and tone ; stabs, lifts, flurries and slings cast overlapping gasps of rich, rasping. percussive jab, dig and drive. Music idea, counter, contrast, double and harmony arrive in sublime syncopated stereo assault, playing the left to right with guile and bravado. Drums punch heavy and precise at the core of the scintillating maelstrom, providing rhythmic anchor ; fill and roll delivered in tightly controlled flicks and fits. Maya Azucena’s vocals stand gigantic, soaring upwards in rising rushes of soulful melody ; a guiding star for band and listener alike, giving reference and direction to the massive, pulsating, sonic landscape. A testament to hard earned musicianship and vocal technique, Brass Against once again deliver a object lesson in the inescapable, forever enduring value of work created by skilled practitioners. In world where charts are still dominated by prefab pop, Brass Against’s very existence is a vital political act.
Track: “CBA” (Lush EP)
Independent Artist and newcomer on the UK scene, Sara drops a tight slice of Indie Dance Pop, with catchy hook and tasty drop, debut single ‘CBA’. Having grown up on the Island of Jersey (located in the England Channel, off the French coast), Sara had already landed a string of impressive opening act gigs and attracted the attention of talent
scouts, before moving to London at age 17. The talented young artist recorded her debut 3 track EP, ‘Lush’, while studying music at University, having to balance the demands of the studio with her studies. Now working with Broken Thought Records and Producer / Singer songwriter Cameron Sanderson, all three tracks on the EP, ‘I Go Crazy’, ‘Poison Ivy’ and opening track, ‘CBA’, were produced by Cameron. ‘CBA’ (‘Can’t be Ar*ed’ in British Slang), is a strikingly engaging indie pop track, that makes original and effective use of live and virtual/sample instrument. The 3 minute 8 second song delivers the customary Exhale Vocal Synth Hook (or variation there upon), driving bass synth and dance pop kick, with great and market necessary success ; the addition of live bass and guitar, add real world flavor and serve to contrast and enhance the accomplished dance pop production. Producer Sanderson, smartly choses to feature the live instrument in intro and verse, while allowing the more ‘pop friendly’ virtual instruments to drive the chorus. Sara’s vocals have a soulful, sweetness ; she almost chats her way through the verses, in a compelling conversational style that holds the ear and the interest. As the track builds and opens up, so do Sara’s vocals ; her voice lifting and breathing the melody out, in a series of well timed expanding phrases. Cameron Sanderson shows good judgement in knowing when to experiment with musical idea/element, while ensuring the core kick / bass structure of the track does the job ; doing a first rate job of building upon and presenting the well written song ; and, in turn, framing Sara’s striking voice and allowing it to drive the track. ‘CBA’ is an impressive debut for such a young Artist and promises much in the coming months and years. A young artist you can very much be ar*ed to follow and support.
Artist: Sara Phillips
Track: “Six Feet Under”
In glorious melancholy and graceful melody, pop/soul singer songwriter Sara Phillips delivers a stand out track of raw emotion and rich musical integrity, new single, ‘Six Feet Under’. Since releasing her self titled debut EP in 2013, Montreal born Sara Phillips has been diligently crafting a quietly impressive body of work. In stark contrast to many of her contemporaries, who worship at the altar of Dance Pop, Phillips has instead concentrated on creating songs, steeped in soulful confession, characterized by patiently developed production and arrangement. While those around her fixating on the fashionable, Sara Phillips’ music has a timelessness to it. Latest single, ‘Six Feet Under’ is no exception. The 3 minute 42 second tracks sits uneasy, upon a shifting synth pad ; guitar counting the moments in arpeggio time ; set deep piano keys catch and drop chord and root. Additional six string licks, shimmer in the ambient. Phillips’ voice is present, intimate and close. Her words part conversation / part introspection / part mediation / part prayer, the LA based artist whispers, talks and drifts the vocal melody, in understated movements and gentle, open phrasings ; one giving way to the other, with inspired finesse. Tasteful use of delay, saturation and reverb, create a mournful, embracing sound design of vocal echo, double and harmony, that both frames and isolates the song. Accomplished in both it’s songwriting and musicianship, ‘Six Feet Under’ is a track of striking Artistic confidence. Rather than playing to the gallery, Sara Phillips continues to dance to the somber, yet romantic beat of her own drum. And although she may struggle to match the ‘seemingly impressive’ streaming numbers of talented dance pop acts, her heartfelt, unapologetic compositions, will attract a loyal and engaged fanbase. A fanbase that will actively support her work, as she strives to write the soundtrack to both her own and their lives.
About Tobi Davis (BRASH! Magazine/Blog Writer)
Good producing is like good plumbing. If you do your job right, no one notices. Mix, Remix + Master. Run @monsterthread w/ Singer Songwriter Jon Magnusson. Host Thursday’s @musichouruk. Music Reviews for BRASH! Magazine. Promote. Occasional Lyricist. Love my beagle Enzo + fav bands Little Empire and Moxi.
Check out Tobi Sonics – Mixes + Remixes!
About The Monster Thread
The #MonsterThread is a community of Independent Musicians, Bands and Artists supporting each other in making and sharing Indie Music.